St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians…
Today, we begin a new study with the book of Ephesians:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the holy ones who are [in Ephesus] faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. –Ephesians 1:1-2, NAB
St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians focuses on one primary topic: the Church. It helps to define who we are as the Church, our mission, and conduct within the Church. Basically, it is a short user’s manual on the basics of being a Christian within the fellowship of saints.
As we begin to study this book, it helps to know some background behind this verse. First of all, some scholars question whether St. Paul truly wrote Ephesians. Different theories say that he may have had one of his disciples write it for him, or someone may have written it in his name years later.
Another disputed portion of this text is “in Ephesus” – shown here in brackets. Some early versions of this letter do not include these words, so some think that it may have been added later. Without it, it would seem that the letter was meant for a larger audience: the worldwide Church.
I am not a theologian or religious scholar, so I will leave the debates over who wrote it, and who it was written to, to more qualified individuals. For the sake of this website, we will accept Ephesians at face value – written by Paul to the church in Ephesus. What should matter to us is the content of the letter and how it describes who we are as one Church, united in Christ.
While many of St. Paul’s letters were written to correct problems within the Church, Ephesians addresses the faithful and teaches us what it means to be members of the Church; therefore, it is a perfect letter to study for this website, which is geared towards welcoming new and returning Catholics into the Church. Think of Ephesians as Catholicism 101: How to be a Good Catholic.
I look forward to studying the rest of Ephesians with you. It should be a learning earning experience for the both of us as we learn what it means to be Catholic directly from Scripture itself. We often debate how to be a good Catholic, and in Ephesians, we can learn directly from the Word of God.